Category Archives: Fundraising Insights

How to Assess Your Fundraising Campaign’s Success: 3 Tips

People discussing a project at a desk

Whether you’re managing a large-scale capital campaign or a small GivingTuesday push, understanding your fundraisers’ wins and failures can better prepare you for campaigns in the future. However, with so many moving parts at play, it can be challenging to pinpoint your success indicators and understand how to measure them. 

In this guide, we’ll review the following tips to ensure that your campaign serves two purposes: raising money now and preparing you for long-term fundraising growth:

  1. Set Specific Financial Targets
  2. Track and Analyze Donor Engagement Metrics
  3. Identify Relevant Key Performance Indicators

As we delve into these tips, think about how your nonprofit currently measures fundraising success and how your approach to these strategies would change based on your priorities.

1. Set Specific Financial Targets

Even during the early planning stages of your fundraiser, you should be building in mechanisms so you can easily gauge your success once the campaign wraps. Since the main goal of your fundraiser is to collect donations, setting specific financial targets can help you allocate resources appropriately in the lead-up to launch day. 

Many factors could impact your fundraising campaign’s financial goals, such as:

  • Past fundraising performance. This is especially relevant for fundraisers running a new iteration of a campaign that they ran in the past. Pull reports of how much money you raised, how many donors you acquired, and other relevant information that can give you a foundation for the current campaign. 
  • Internal and external economic conditions. If your nonprofit is performing better than expected, you might not need to set your fundraising goal as high as you would if you were receiving fewer donations. Also, keep external economic factors, such as recessions, booms, and shifts in tax regulations, in mind. For example, a recession can deplete your donors’ giving capacities, which in turn impacts your fundraising goals.
  • Target audience. While you might have a similar target audience from campaign to campaign, you should delve into their preferences to understand what drives them to give and at what level. Fifty & Fifty recommends creating a donor persona that lays out their values, pain points, and other demographic markers—for financial goal-setting, focus on their giving capacity and motivations. 
  • Overhead costs. You have to spend money to make money, and those costs can significantly affect the donation revenue that you take home after the campaign. Try to estimate these costs ahead of time and adjust your fundraising goals accordingly. 
  • Long-term goals. Remember to keep your long-term objectives in mind while setting financial benchmarks so you support your overall mission and strategy.
  • New developments in the fundraising world. With technology growing in complexity each day, there are more ways than ever before to collect donations to nonprofits. Research new ways to receive gifts that you haven’t leveraged before, such as accepting cryptocurrency or tapping into donor advised funds, and evaluate if investing in any new ways to accept gifts would improve your fundraising outcomes.

Work with your team to ensure that each goal follows the SMART framework (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely) so you can visualize the pathways to accomplishing your short and long-term objectives. 

2. Track and Analyze Donor Engagement Metrics

Remember that you should be tracking more than just financial success metrics. In particular, donor engagement can—and should—also be measured throughout a fundraising campaign. Monitoring metrics such as new donors acquired, retained donors, and upgraded donors can tell you important information about the effectiveness of your stewardship strategies. Follow these tips for collecting and interpreting donor engagement data:

  • Focus on qualitative and quantitative data. Some data can’t be portrayed by numbers alone and requires input from your stakeholders. Provide ways for your donors and stakeholders to provide feedback that serves as your qualitative data. For example, a university might ask its alumni/ae donors if they felt more or less connected to their alma mater after an alumni/ae fundraising campaign.  
  • Track metrics via your digital channels. Technology allows you to gain hyper-focused insights into your donor engagement through tracking online activity. Social media likes, email click-throughs, and impressions on your website are easy to track, making them great metrics to start with. 
  • Practice CRM data hygiene. You likely already use a CRM to record your data, but how you organize it greatly impacts its effectiveness, especially when it comes to tracking qualitative feedback from donors. Ensure that you have the proper data management practices in place so you can easily record, reference, and report on important metrics. 

Focus on the most relevant data to your campaign based on your past performance. For instance, if a sorority’s alumnae association was focused on improving donor acquisition, they could track the number of new sorority alumni/ae interacting with their chapter alongside their qualitative feedback about the effectiveness of the sorority’s acquisition tactics and fundraisers

3. Identify Relevant Key Performance Indicators

Key performance indicators (KPIs) provide structure to add nuance and dimension to your data analysis. Some top KPIs that can help nonprofits gauge their fundraising performance include:

  • Donation growth rate, which measures year-over-year growth in total donations
  • Donor retention rate, which measures how many donors that gave last year gave again this year
  • Cost per dollar raised, which calculates how much it costs to raise each dollar of fundraising revenue 
  • Average gift size, which indicates the average amount donated per campaign
  • Donor acquisition rate, which signifies how many new donors gave this year 

These are just a few of the KPIs that could benefit your performance assessment process. To find the best calculations for you, analyze your campaign-specific and long-term objectives and choose which metrics best reflect them. Then, configure your CRM so you can easily calculate and report on these metrics.


As you start planning your benchmarks and tracking data for your fundraising campaign, keep in mind that success in fundraising isn’t just about hitting financial targets. In fact, as long as you follow these tips, you can strengthen your fundraising prowess and your supporter community as a whole by showing your donors that you’re committed to continuous improvement.

Author: Melissa Geitgey

Melissa Geitgey, APR, is the director of marketing for Togetherwork’s higher education product group. Togetherwork is a Saas company that provides integrated software and financial solutions that help organizations and membership groups manage, grow, and engage with their communities.

Melissa has extensive experience leading marketing and communications departments to advance strategic initiatives, managing events and corporate brands for Saas, higher education, athletics, professional services, and nonprofit organizations. She graduated from Valparaiso University with a B.A. in Communications and received her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) by the Universal Accreditation Board in 2011.

She’s a past president of the Public Relations Society of America Hoosier Chapter and former chapter Ethics Chair. When she’s not geeking out about marketing communications strategy and the creative process, Melissa loves spending time with her family, listening to live music, visiting art museums, restoring vintage handbags and subversive cross stitch.

How Prospect Research Brings Confidence to Your Prospect Meetings

How Prospect Research Brings Confidence to Your Prospect Meetings

We know that the best way to raise money for our organizations is through face-to-face relationships with our prospects. Like any relationship, we must put in time and effort. But sometimes, you need more than a company biography or what is in your organization’s database to establish that connection and maintain it. Knowing how to find the right information can be a struggle.

That is where prospect research comes in. Using public information and internal information from your organization (if available), prospect research can help figure out how to better cultivate the person. Research will help you learn more about the prospect and give you the confidence to deepen that relationship.

Continue reading How Prospect Research Brings Confidence to Your Prospect Meetings

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Key Environmental Fundraising Tips

People recycling plastic, paper, and aluminum

Your nonprofit fundraises to further your social good impact, but have you ever considered how your fundraisers impact the environment?

Consider the following ways you can make your operations greener, all while maximizing donations, boosting donor retention, and increasing ROI for your organization: 

Continue reading Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Key Environmental Fundraising Tips

How to Build a Strategic Plan for Your Nonprofit: 5 Steps

Three people are looking at a computer screen

When you think about your nonprofit’s future, what do you envision? 

You might think about serving more constituents, diversifying your source of fundraising revenue, expanding your volunteer program, or hiring more employees. Whatever your specific vision is, you’ll need a clear plan on your side to help you get there. 

That’s where a nonprofit strategic plan comes in, in which you identify how you’re going to reach your long-term goals. 

To set your organization up for success with strategic planning, we’ve put together this quick guide that will cover all the basics you need to know, including five steps for building out your strategic plan. Let’s begin. 

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Warning! Check your Fuel Gauge BEFORE Campaign Launch.

Warning! Check your Fuel Gauge BEFORE Campaign Launch.

Imagine that you board a plane and just when you have reached altitude, the pilot comes on over the microphone and tells you that although you are scheduled to land in two hours, there is no fuel gauge. The pilot tells you they are optimistic and determined to arrive on time anyway. Would you believe me if I told you this is the way many organizations start their capital campaigns? It’s true!

Knowing how much fuel is in the tank is critical before flying an airplane. Similarly, knowing the gift potential in your donor database is critical information before launching a campaign.

Continue reading Warning! Check your Fuel Gauge BEFORE Campaign Launch.
Review of Charitable Giving by Affluent Households

Review of Charitable Giving by Affluent Households – Part 2

What is this Report?

The 2023 Bank of America Study of Philanthropy report is the 9th biennial examination about philanthropic attitudes, priorities, and more for affluent US households in 2022. It is written as a collaboration between Bank of America and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. It is based on 1,623 wealthy US households, defined as either a net worth $1M+ or annual household income of $200K+. The average mean income was $523,472 and average mean wealth of $31M.

The report was full of so much valuable information, we decided to split it into two blog posts.

Continue reading Review of Charitable Giving by Affluent Households – Part 2

4 Donor Appreciation Events to Boost Engagement & Retention

Your donors are what make your mission possible. From simply keeping the lights on to making an impact in your community and beyond, your donors make it all happen. Showing your thanks for their generosity in meaningful ways is crucial for keeping donors engaged, retaining their support, and scaling their gifts over time.

Appreciation events are a great option for your staff and board to connect with donors in new ways, beyond the traditional thank-you notes and phone calls (which are, of course, still necessary!). From treating donors to a fun outing or activity to publicly recognizing them for their support, these thank-you event ideas make your donors feel appreciated and help boost their long-term commitment to your cause.

Continue reading 4 Donor Appreciation Events to Boost Engagement & Retention
Review of Charitable Giving by Affluent Households

Review of Charitable Giving by Affluent Households – Part 1

What is this Report?

The 2023 Bank of America Study of Philanthropy report is the 9th biennial examination about philanthropic attitudes, priorities, and more for affluent US households in 2022. It is written as a collaboration between Bank of America and the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. It is based on 1,623 wealthy US households, defined as either a net worth $1M+ or annual household income of $200K+. The average mean income was $523,472 and average mean wealth of $31M.

Continue reading Review of Charitable Giving by Affluent Households – Part 1
Fishing for Prospects The Promise of Validations

Fishing for Prospects: The Promise of Validations

By Elisa Shoenberger

Finding new prospects is often compared to fishing. You throw out a proverbial net and hopefully get an incredible number of fish in return. Some are going to be bigger than others; hopefully, you’ll throw the smaller fish back into the water to grow and thrive.

Continue reading Fishing for Prospects: The Promise of Validations